Plenty to explore on this perfect half-day stroll

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A short walk perfect for a half day. The walk begins in the quaint village of Healey, near Masham and heads south east across fields to the River Burn.

From there the walk continues over fields past Stonefold Farm and more fields to Sole Beck, which is followed for a short while before climbing to High Knowle and then into Druid’s Plantation, home of the Druid’s temple folly.

Explore here before descending south west towards Leighton Reservoir and veering east to Broadmires and then back to the River Burn along a quiet country road.

Then return to Healey on the same course by which you came.

The route

This walk, courtesy of The Walking Englishman, is a pleasant six miles but it can be shortened to just one mile for families with young children by simply parking up at the entrance to Druid’s Plantation and taking the short walk into the woodland where Druid’s Temple stands in a splendid central location.

Then the young ones can explore the folly and surrounding woodland at their leisure while parents relax.

This option misses out on some wonderful countryside with babbling brooks, pleasant woodland and green fields which bless the area in the Healey, Fearby and Ilton areas which neighbour the market town of Masham.

The walk starts with a lovely journey downhill across short grassed pasture fields to the River Burn.

On reaching the river near Swinton Saw Mill, follow it to a quaint road bridge, at this point joining the course of the Ripon Rowel trail which goes over the road bridge and to a road junction.

Turn right to leave the road and follow a course due south on a track to Stonefold Farm. After the farm, cross more pleasant short grassed fields on a mostly south and slightly east course to reach Sole Beck Gill.

Follow the gill upstream through the narrow strip of woodland past Sykes Farm, over a footbridge and straight across a road to continue following the gill upstream a little longer before the gentle ascent is abruptly changed to a steeper haul up a couple of fields and away from Sole Beck Gill to High Knowle.

After passing High Knowle, press on up to the top-most point of the walk in Druid’s Plantation.

The Druids Temple is a folly created by William Danby of nearby Swinton Hall in 1820.

The structure includes a large stone table, a couple of sheltered caves and an altar stone.

The temple is approximately 100 feet long and 50 feet wide, with some of the stones standing more than 10 feet high.

There are plenty of good paths around Druid’s Plantation to follow.

After you’ve finished exploring, walk back out of Druid’s Plantation by the path by which you had entered.

Then walk a fresh course north west. enjoying lovely views of the countryside.

Walk gently across more fields skirting beside the western edges of Knowle Plantation and Broadmires Wood, a section of walking positioned slightly higher than Leighton Reservoir which gives good views of the reservoir and of Clints Moor to the south of it.

Fork right to follow a good path heading eastwards on the fringe of Hall Wood and parallel to Pott Beck, which terminates when it reaches the River Burn near Broadmires.

After passing the farm, follow the farm track back to the road which leads a short distance back to the fork in the road you had been at a couple of hours earlier, just after crossing the River Burn near the secluded stone bridge.

Cross the bridge once more before crossing the half a dozen fields you set out along at the start of the walk from Healey.